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AJ Bell reaches record assets under administration in Q2

Thu 22 April 2021 08:46 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Investment platform provider AJ Bell reported a 32% improvement in total customer numbers year-on-year in its second quarter on Thursday, to 346,797, with total net inflows in the period rising to £1.5b from £1.3bn a year earlier.

The FTSE 250 company said total assets under administration increased to £65.2bn as at 21 March, up 35% over the last year and 4% quarter-on-quarter.

It said its platform business saw continued organic growth in customer numbers, net inflows and assets under administration, with platform customer numbers rising by a record 34,223 in the quarter, making for an increase of 64% over the prior year period.

Total platform customers closed the period at 332,276, up 34% over the last year and 11% in the quarter.

Advised customers were up 14% year-on-year at 118,509, and direct-to-consumer customers surged 48% to 213,767.

Platform net inflows increased by 13% over the prior year to £1.8bn, with advised net inflows in line with the prior year at £0.9bn, while direct-to-consumer net inflows were 29% firmer, also at £0.9bn.

AJ Bell said platform assets under administration closed at £58bn, up 38% over the last year and 5% over the quarter.

Looking at AJ Bell Investments, the company said net inflows in the quarter totalled £311m, up 132% on the prior year, while assets under management increased to £1.4bn, up 180% over the last year and 40% quarter-on-quarter.

"The run up to the recent tax year-end was our busiest ever, driving strong growth in customer numbers and assets under administration during our second quarter," said chief executive officer Andy Bell.

"Our easy-to-use, low-cost platform continues to perform well in both the financial adviser and direct-to-consumer markets.

"Our adviser platform saw its largest ever quarterly increase in new customers."

That, Bell said, was "testimony" to the company's proposition, and the price advantage it provided its customers compared to other major adviser platforms.

"Our direct-to-consumer platform saw record growth in customer numbers and inflows in the quarter.

"We continue to see growing numbers of younger people joining the platform as they look to take control of their long-term financial future via pensions and ISAs.

"Our new and existing customers continue to consolidate existing investments onto our platform, meaning we are growing quickly whilst maintaining a high average customer portfolio of £79,000."

Andy Bell said the company's investment business also had another "strong" quarter, with both advisers and customers recognising the value and performance the firm delivered.

"Our managed portfolio service is growing increasingly popular with financial advisers and our range of multi-asset funds is seeing strong inflows, with our Responsible Growth fund proving particularly popular.

"Our assets under administration surpassed £65bn for the first time, and momentum remains strong going into the second half of our financial year."

AJ Bell said it would announce its results for the six months ended 31 March on 27 May.

At 0838 BST, shares in AJ Bell were down 2.87% at 453.2p.

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